Man in 60s Not Guilty of Embezzling Funds Tied to Former South Korean President
It is suspected, but the evidence alone can’t prove
A man in his 60s, who was charged with defrauding a large amount of money by pretending to help embezzle underground funds of former President Park Geun Hye, has been acquitted.
On the 12th, the Changwon District Court’s Criminal Division 4 (Chief Judge Jang Yu Jin) acquitted a man in his 60s, referred to as A, who was charged with violating the Act on the Aggravated Punishment of Specific Economic Crimes (fraud).
A was accused of defrauding about 715 million KRW (approximately $538,000) from B in a coffee shop in Seoul in June 2016, claiming that he needed money as operation costs to bring out some of the underground funds of former President Park. However, the underground funds A mentioned did not exist.
A admitted to receiving money from B but argued that it was not fraud as he received it in exchange for selling antiques and gold bars, not under the pretext of operation costs.
At the time, A and B signed the contract for a calligraphic work, saying, “This contract is for a pure transaction of a work of art and is intended to clarify that it is not related to any underground fund transactions as claimed.”
The court acknowledged that there appeared to have been a crime as alleged in the indictment, considering that they included the term “underground funds” in the contract. However, the court questioned the credibility of the testimony, citing that A gave B gold bars and jars and wrote a receipt and that B, who operates a corporation and a personal business, testified that he signed the contract without even looking at it.
The court said, “If it were a calligraphic work as the defendant claims, there would be no reason to include the content of the underground funds in the contract.” However, it added, “There is a high possibility that B has misremembered or exaggerated the facts, such as reversing some of his statements about depositing money to the defendant.”
The court also stated, “Although there is suspicion that the defendant may have embezzled money from B, it is difficult to say that the defendant’s fraudulent intent has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt based solely on the evidence submitted by the prosecutor.”